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They went that-a- way!

In my posting on 3 December I mentioned "Trace Fossils". Trace fossils are imprints or markings left behind by living organisms. They can be footprints, trails, burrowings or any type of mark. The trace fossils most collectors are familiar with are the footprints left by dinosaurs. Many trackways have been discovered that give us a picture into the living world of the dinosaurs. Measurements can be used to give us information on their locomotion. Walking, and running, speeds have been worked out for several species. The weigh of individuals can also be calculated by the depth of the footprints. This branch of science "ichnology" is mostly overlooked by the average collector. We tend to look for objects that can be associated with living organisms. We can recognize a fossil shell. We don't recognized the track that the gastropod left in the mud on the seabed. Another problem is that when we buy a commercial Fossil Book there's very little information included on trace fossils. And although at lot has been published on the science, the articles are not available to the average person. So why should we waste our time with something we can't recognize or read about? Because we've all spent a day in the hot sun looking for fossils and found zilch. And it wasn't because the formation we're looking in didn't have animals living in it. Sometimes the animals were soft bodied and didn't leave a fossil behind. But they might have left a trace of their activities behind for the observant collector. So the next time you're out there collecting, and you've found nothing all day, try putting on your Daniel Boone cap and look for the signs that says "They went that-a-way".
Location Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA

Date Added12/13/2006

This Pliocene Sperm Whale tooth has numerous bore holes. They were most likely made by marine clams. Traces such as trails, burrows and tracks are grouped into an area called Repichnia.
This petrified wood is from the Late Cretaceous and has numerous bore holes. Since wood can be washed into marine environments it's hard to tell if the holes were from insects or marine organisms.
This shrimp burrow is from a Pleistocene formation.
This shale slab came from an Ordovician formation in Ohio. It has several tracks from marine organisms.
Another Ordovician track. This one shows that an organism, possibly a trilobite, made a complete 360 degree circle.

The Heat is On
The Heat is On
The Heat is On
The Heat is On





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